Create a Reading Ritual

“I want to read more this year.”

How many times have we made that a goal, but watched instead as it got swallowed up by holidays, work, and the busyness of day-to-day life?
Create a Reading Ritual

Not everyone inherently loves reading and even those that do sometimes struggle to find the time. If you keep looking for the time, however, you won’t find it; unless you make the time to read, a book won’t magically appear in your hands, your eyes soaking up the ink printed on each page.

I’m no psychologist, but changing your attitude towards reading and carving out the time to sit down with a book is something that can be done. Just like you can create habits of healthy eating and exercise, you can also create a habit of reading. A reading ritual, if you will. Because let’s face it: if you don’t enjoy doing something, you’re not going to want to do it at all.

Here are my tips for creating a reading ritual that makes you want to pick up a book and read!

  1. Make time for reading. Reading time will never magically present itself to you; you have to seek it out. You don’t need to set aside an astronomically large portion of time to read, especially right off the bat, but choose a time and place to read and stick with it. Set aside 10 minutes before bed or with your morning coffee to shut everything else off and spend some quality time with a book.
  2. Associate it with something you enjoy. If you’re not someone who naturally enjoys reading, link it to something that you do love. Give yourself a small square of chocolate when you sit down to read a book. Light a candle with a particularly pleasant smell. Make that thing The Reading Thing. No book, no nice-smelling candle. No extra chocolate piece. Personally, I love hot beverages, so sitting down with a cup of hot tea or coffee and a book is something I look forward to. (I’d argue that making reading enjoyable and making reading special are two different things. Think about elementary school reading time: the kids all know where to go, what to do. There’s an air of magic that’s exciting, that gets them eager to read. The lights are out. Some lanterns or candles are lit. They get to sit on the floor!)
  3. Pick a book you like. It doesn’t do you any good if you’re dreading the book you’re reading. Don’t be afraid to swap out a book you’re not feeling for a different one. Maybe the put-down is temporary (I’m all for reading what I’m in the mood for that particular day!) or maybe it’s permanent. Whatever it is, if it’s not a book you want to read, you won’t want to read. Pretty simple, no?

How do you keep yourself accountable to your books and make reading a little more enjoyable?

*Again, I’m no psychologist or the like. I’m fairly confident, however, that opening up a book in a comfortable chair won’t cause you any negative ailments.

End of the Year Book Survey | 2015

neil gaiman books

Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner has been recapping her reading each year with this book survey, which got me thinking about my own reading habits. While I did reach my own personal book goal (52 books this year; I somehow surpassed that!), it felt appropriate to reflect on my larger habits and patterns than just the number itself.

I did make some changes to Jamie’s original survey. For instance, I don’t really distinguish between debut and non-debut authors, nor do I usually track rereads. Otherwise, read on!

What did my 2015 in books look like?

Stats

Number of books read: 84
Number of pages read: 23,976
Genre you read the most from: YA Fantasy (or so I guesstimate)

Best Of…

Best book you read in 2015? Oh god, this is so hard. It’s a tie between Andy Weir’s The Martian and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. They’re two completely different books but equally stunning in their own right.
Book you were excited about and though you were going to love but didn’t? Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I had such high expectations but didn’t like this at all. I’ve been told the next few books are better, so I’m going to give it a second chance.
Most surprising (good or bad) book you read in 2015? Station Eleven. It came out of nowhere and went from a book I didn’t know anything about to one of my all-time favorites.
Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2015? Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Best series you started? Sequel? Series ender? The Winner’s Curse/The Winner’s Crime. This series is still in the works, and I didn’t really read any other series this year, let alone end one. I’m excited to read the next installment, but not so much for the change in covers…
Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? Patrick Ness (new-to-me, at least)
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/out of your comfort zone? I don’t usually do contemporary, and this topic wasn’t my normal pick, but I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios was great.
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? The Martian by Andy Weir
Favorite book cover of 2015? A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Most memorable character of 2015? Baz Pitch (Carry On)
Most beautifully written book? Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Most-thought provoking/life-changing book? Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – I have fond memories discussing this book with my AP kids. Some of the most thought-provoking and mature intellectual conversation I’ve ever had.
Book you can’t believe you waited until 2015 to finally read? Cinder by Marissa Meyer (so good!)
Favorite passage/quote from a book read? I don’t really keep track of quotes, but anything from The Martian is lol-worthy (proof)
Shortest book read? Longest? Wytches by Scott Snyder (30 pages); All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (530 pages)
OTP of the year? Baz & Simon
Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year? The ladies from Lumberjanes! Okay, so it’s really part of my weekly comic haul but still…
Favorite book read in 2015 from an author you’ve read previously? Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
Newest fictional crush? From this year? Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door was adorable. I don’t usually like contemporary YA, but Perkins writes some adorable stories.
Best 2015 debut? Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Best worldbuilding/Most vivid setting? A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. She’s consistently hard to beat in this category.
Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read? The Martian by Andy Weir. Hilarious.
Book that made you cry/nearly cry? Station Eleven. Just beautiful.
Hidden gem of the year? Meant to Be by Lauren Morill. I feel like this is an underrated contemporary YA that just won me over with its adorableness, realism, and charm.
Book that crushed your soul? Station Eleven steals this one, too. My heart was so heavy after reading this.
Most unique book read in 2015? The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – a total inversion of the popular and ever-present dystopian tropes in YA.
Book that made you the most mad? Armada by Ernest Cline. See the review below:

Reviews & Events

Best bookish moment/event of 2015? Meeting Rainbow Rowell!
Favorite review that you wrote/filmed in 2015? Uggggh, this is so tough. I don’t know. All of them?
Most popular post/video this year? #PotterWeek: Ravenclaw

Post you wished got a little more love? Real Life Geeks Who Inspired Me


Best bookish discovery (store/sites/etc.)? I got an OwlCrate subscription? Does that count? It was pretty awesome.
Complete any reading challenges/goals? 52 book reading challenge

Looking Ahead…

One book you didn’t get to this year, but will probably be first priority in 2016? I’ve been so excited to read Libba Bray’s The Diviners, but kept getting sidetracked. It also didn’t help that it was a really thick book. I’m working on it, but am making a point to crank it out in January.
Book you are most anticipating in 2016 (non-debut)? This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab
Series-ending/sequel you are most anticipating? The Winner’s Kiss (except the cover)
One thing you hope to accomplish in reading/blogging life in 2016? Take more bookish photos for Instagram. Goal: 1 per week.
A 2016 release you’ve already read and recommend to everyone? Surprisingly, I haven’t read any upcoming releases yet! I’m drowning in a pile of accumulated current TBRs…

How was your 2015? Did you reach your reading goals?

#HPDec: Hogwarts House

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

For some reason or another, December has become synonymous with Harry Potter. Whether it’s ABC Family’s penchant for running Harry Potter movie marathons around the holidays or the allure of Hogwarts at Christmastime, December is magical.

Which is why last year the NovelTea Book Club decided to reread all of the Harry Potter books during the month of December, under the guise of #HPDec.

This year, readers wanted a Potter-filled month yet again, and so — you guessed it — #HPDec is back!

We’re a pretty relaxed book club, and everyone seems to find something different to focus on during the month, from fanart to movie marathons. Interested in how you can participate?

  • Reread the Harry Potter books this month!
  • Share your favorite links on social media with #HPDec
  • Watch all of the movies (in one sitting. I dare you)
  • Talk Potter-topics on your Youtube channel
  • Stop by the NovelTea Book Club on Goodreads or the Facebook group to stay up to date on the latest challenges and community findings.

I’ll be reading some of the Potterverse books I’ve not yet ventured into, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Beedle the Bard. There’s no right or wrong way of participating in #HPDec — just share the Harry Potter love!

To kick off the challenge, I thought it might be a nice introduction to find out what Hogwarts House everyone is in. The video below touches on some of the more specific House-related questions I’ve answered previously, but I will say I’m a Ravenclaw through and through.

(Though, for most of my middle/high school career I was adamant that I was a Slytherin. I have no idea why. My version of being mean to someone is giving them the burnt cookie [not that Slytherins are mean]. I just wouldn’t do just anything for ambition.)

What House are you in?

November Reading Wrap Up

carry on rainbow rowell

What. A. Month.

I feel like I’ve run a marathon. A mental marathon. Real marathons and I don’t get along too well. For some reason or another, October and November are the busiest months in the entire year for me, melding into one long gauntlet of events, tasks, and deadlines. This year? The end of a marking period, professional development deadlines, an ongoing editing project, helping to produce a stage show, and that’s not including the little day-to-day stuff (like unpacking boxes from my move. Yes, still.)

Nevertheless, I managed to finish two (two!) books this month, ones I very much anticipated reading. And also the Odyssey with my kiddos — that counts too, right? While I celebrate this little reading victory, I thought it might be worthwhile to share some mini-reviews of the books I read with you all. Maybe you’ll find a gem in the list!

Psst! If you really dig these books and want to read, you can use the links below to purchase a copy, but note that these are Amazon Affiliate links.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell | I’d been itching to read this book ever since it was mentioned in Fangirl. Luckily, Rowell decided to make it a real thing, and it did not disappoint. While not my favorite book of Rowell’s, it’s a fun, quick read while still having solid storytelling. “The Chosen One”, Simon Snow, must figure out a way to defeat the evil threatening the magical world all while trying to survive being roommates with his archenemy, who just so happens to be a vampire.

For fans of: Harry Potter (which, speaking of, the #NovelTeaBookClub will be rereading during the whole month of December! Join us for #HPDec and all of the Harry Potter love!)

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor | The podcast translates into a book surprisingly well, capturing all of the oddities that you would expect. All your favorite characters make appearances, including Cecil and snippets of his radio show. Equal parts weird and touchingly truthful. If you wanted to know the mystery of the man in the tan jacket, here’s your chance. If you don’t know who the man in the tan jacket is, well…

For fans of: the Welcome to Night Vale podcast…? Lovecraft. Orwell.

Lumiere by Jacqueline Garlick | I tried so hard to like this, I really did. Actually no, I didn’t. I kind of gave up when things just started feeling awkward. The story itself has a strong premise: Eyelet is on the run, looking for her father’s invention — the Illuminator, the only thing that can save her from her seizures. But the story takes a sharp turn from interesting to unbelievable an un-endearing, reading more like an awkward and not-at-all-cute Beauty and the Beast (and normally I love Beauty & the Beast and fairytale adaptations in general). Did not finish.

For fans of fairytale retellings, people with patience, those looking for a quick read with little commitment

Comic books (single issue): Lumberjanes #19 (mermaids!), Gotham Academy #11, Batgirl #45

Don’t forget to head over to YouTube to watch my full-length reviews and stay tuned for an in-depth look at Carry On and Welcome to Night Vale!

What books have you read this month?

Stickers for Book Lovers (+ a giveaway)

noveltea-book-club-mr-penumbra-book-store

It’s hard to believe that the second full year of the NovelTea Book Club is coming to a close. Reading with all of these wonderful folks has led to many thoughtful discussions, new book recommendations, and an endless source of reading motivation.

Over the past year and a half, we’ve read everything from fiction to nonfiction, gushed over our shared love of Neil Gaiman, and swapped bookish goodies with a pen pal swap. Last month marked a “just because” celebration with the #BooksandTeacups photo challenge, and December will see the return of the annual Harry Potter reread with #HPDec. In other words, we’ve been busy!

The great thing about an online book club is that we’re always accepting new members, and there’s no scheduling commitment! Pop by and comment when you can, and otherwise enjoy the reading! If you’d like to join us in December for Harry Potter or are looking for some new reads for 2016, you can find the NovelTea Book Club on Facebook and Goodreads. We’d love to have you!

Speaking of the NovelTea Book Club, Shawna of Hello Quirky created some incredible book-themed stickers just for the group and I’ve been sticking mine on every surface imaginable. Not only are they a pleasant surprise peeking out of my work folders, they make for great Filofax decorations!

We’re giving one reader a chance to win a pack of their very own, but if you can’t wait that long…

noveltea book club stickers hello quirky

Snag your own NovelTea Book Club stickers or give a set to your favorite book lover this holiday!

Hello Quirky is giving readers 20% off with the code HOLIDAYCHEER through December 1st (order soon – not just so you’ve got some awesome stocking stuffers, but Hello Quirky will be on hiatus for the holidays!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway